Grain size, mineral and chemical compositions of modern deposits fron the northern Caspian Sea and the Volga River delta

Comprehensive investigations revealed that modern deposits in the northern Caspian Sea involve terrigenous sands and aleurites with admixture of detritus and intact bivalve shells, including coquina. Generally, these deposits overlay dark grayish viscous clays. Similar geological situation occurs in the Volga River delta; however, local deposits are much poorer in biogenic constituents. Illite prevails among clay minerals. In coarse aleurite fraction (0.100-0.050 mm) heavy transparent minerals are represented mostly by epidotes, while light minerals - mostly by quartz and feldspars. Sedimentary material in the Volga River delta is far from completely differentiated into fractions due to abundant terrigenous inflows. Comparatively better grading of sediments from the northern Caspian Sea is due to additional factors such as bottom currents and storms. When passing from the Volga River delta to the northern Caspian Sea, sediments are enriched in rare earth elements (except Eu), Ca, Au, Ni, Se, Ag, As, and Sr, but depleted in Na, Rb, Cs, K, Ba, Fe, Cr, Co, Sc, Br, Zr, ??, U, and Th. Concentrations of Zn remain almost unchanged. Sedimentation rates and types of recent deposits in the northern Caspian Sea are governed mainly by abundant runoff of the Volga River.

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